Illustration: Sean Hennefer
I live in downtown Salt Lake and when I was walking my dog this morning, there was a dead raccoon on the curb. It was large, smelled absolutely horrid and its little paws were clasped together, as if it were praying for salvation in the last moments of its little raccoon life. So, I call animal control, they tell me to call the Utah Department of Wildlife, who tell me to call the police, the police instruct me to call Utah Highway Patrol and the Highway Patrol direct me back to the Department of Wildlife. The Department of Wildlife informs me that, as a matter of fact, no one picks up raccoons in Salt Lake County.
Now, to put this into context, months ago, I came upon a cat in almost the exact same spot that was also large, also smelled horrid and appeared to have been disemboweled. Its little face was contorted into what appeared to be a grimace, and its eyes were wide open, as if it were approaching the gates of kitty hell. I called the non-emergency police line, they called animal control, and the cat was picked up within the hour. So what gives? I understand that raccoons can carry diseases, but so do feral cats.
In addition, the Department of Wildlife said that in Davis County, the local police pick up dead raccoons. Now, I understand that the fine SLCPD may be busier than the cops in Davis County, what with all the underage parties to bust and gay couples kissing at Temple Square, but come on. Salt Lake City has 3.2 police officers per 1,000 residents, which is 86.8% greater than the Utah average and 14.1% above the national average. It makes the most sense to me that the Department of Wildlife should pick up dead raccoons, but if police in Davis County can pick them up, why can’t the police in Salt Lake?
Dear Pet Semetary,
Davis County is somewhat of an aberration, as their Deputy Sheriffs are public safety officers and are cross-trained to be medics, mechanics and tow truck drivers. I didn’t know they were also cross-trained to be dogcatchers. Normally, cops put the wounded ones down with a bullet to the head and animal control comes out and gets the carcass. Cops are trained to deal with human animals, not animal animals.
I don’t know all of the “who bags the carcass” rules, but when I called my city to pick up a dead deer next to my house (AFTER A FUCK’N WEEK ROTTING IN THE SUN!), they said I needed to call the State. When talking to the State, some lady explained the jurisdictional nuances. From what I understand, some redneck has a contract to pick up all the fur pelts from dead wild animals. Supposedly, he sells the skins to the Russians or Chinese to make hats. That dude is always on time since he’s making money, but nobody wants a coon skin hat. I’m sure we both just ran into some government rotten
Although SLC has many cops per 1,000 population, the shitty west side takes up most of them. I guarantee almost all new money will go for more cops instead of funding more for animal control officers. “Pass the buck” will most likely be the rule.They’ll tell you to call the County, who will tell you to call the State, which will result in the rotting deer next to my house or the raccoon by your house staying there for a week. I wish the Chinese and Russians wanted deer-hide hats, and sorry, yes, coon skin hats, too.